Tag Archives: breakfast

Country Pancake House & Restaurant: 8205 Nature’s Way. Suite 119. Lakewood Ranch, FL

Standard

I find it rather odd that we’ve lived about a mile from Country Pancake House for the last 6 months and we only just tried it today. I also find it odd that there are so many negative reviews out there complaining about the vast number of options on the menu or the huge quantities of food. I, as opposed to a lot of the complainers, do not find large portions at a fair price to be wasteful. I find them to make an excellent second meal out of take-home leftovers which is perfectly acceptable to me.

The entire first page is covered in pancake choices. Wow. I suppose it was a bit overwhelming, but they all sounded amazing. I decided that this kind of carb overload would need to be a reward for a 6 mile run, and not just a normal Sunday morning breakfast. Note to self: make sure to go back after a 6 mile run and order the chocolate chip cherry short stack. Drool.

We ordered coffees with honey and skim (our normal way) and they also brought out a complimentary basket of homemade cornbread….because obviously mile high plates of pancakes isn’t enough bread for one meal. Ummm. Anyway, since I’d selected from the many omelette options and told them that I wanted to forego the pancakes and home fries that normally come with them, I figured I’d indulge in some cornbread. I remembered to take the pic only after I’d already eaten one and half pieces of the ones that had chocolate chips on top. Sorry Gabriel…I did not share those very well at all.

Our meals came out soon after and my omelette was HUGE. I had the farmer’s omelette stuffed with peppers, zucchini, mushrooms, ham and cheese (both of which I asked them to go light on and still got plenty). I am pretty sure that was at least a 5 egg omelette – it was so thick and covered my plate. I was stuffed after a bit less than half and happily had it boxed up to go home. It will make a great breakfast tomorrow after I re-saute it for a few minutes to heat it back up. Gabriel’s shrimp, asparagus and Monterey Jack was quite delicious. The shrimp were large and cooked perfectly and nicely complemented by the other ingredients much to my surprise. His pancakes were fluffy and beautiful and dusted with a little confectioner’s sugar. They were so tasty that they really didn’t even need maple syrup on top. His home fries were crunchy and delicious and I’m glad he had ordered them so I could at least have tastes.

I also ordered a strawberry/peach/orange juice because the page of fresh squeezed juices sounded way too good to skip. It was sweet, fresh, and somehow a little creamy. I verified with the waitress that no sugar or milk was added and she confirmed that it was purely fruit and a great juicer machine. I would have preferred it to be chilled, it was slightly warm or at best, room temperature. It had wonderful flavor, but at $3.75 I doubt I’ll do that again.

Our enormous breakfast came out to $26 total, and will absolutely feed us for another 2 meals. I really enjoyed our morning here, along with the 1.5 mile walk each way to burn some of it off. It’s really a country-bumpkin feeling place with warm staff and an eager crowd who seemed to enjoy themselves as much as we did. Now that we now how pleasant it is, we will surely return more often.

 

 

Advertisements

Station 400: 8215 Main St. Lakewood Ranch, FL

Standard

Apparently my friends are always slightly nervous when they are the ones picking the restaurant we are meeting at. It made me laugh to hear that, but I guess I can see why since you never really know what I’ll think of a place. Luckily for this particular couple that Gabriel and I were meeting up with for lunch, they pretty much always pick winners.

Station 400 is a couple of miles from where we live and we’d been meaning to try it. We met up for lunch and I was immediately impressed with the cute, train-themed atmosphere, complete with a model train periodically circling the ceiling in full view. The¬†menu was full of great sounding choices and I knew it would be a tough decision being that brunch is my favorite meal of the day (unless you include dessert as a meal). It seems a shame when a restaurant only offers breakfast and brunch and overlooks the more lucrative meal of the day by closing before dinner time, but I suppose they know what works for them. Before I even ordered, I’d already assumed everything would be great and was thinking about what I’d pick the next time we came in. It was 1pm on a Sunday, and we’d woken up fairly early, had breakfast, and taken a yoga class, so by the time 1:00 rolled around, I was ready for lunch type foods. I was tempted by the truffle eggs benedict, the blueberry stuffed, almond crusted, croissant french toast (WOAH) and the salmon caesar salad, but wanting to stay on the healthy side, I ultimately ended up choosing the portobello sandwich (YUM) with a side of cucumber/tomato olive salad. Gabriel had the open faced roast beef sandwich with blue cheese, caramelized onions, horseradish and parmesan fries on the side and my mouth watered as I convinced him to share both meals. Both were excellent with fresh ingredients, perfectly paired ingredients and manageable portions. Our friend’s dishes also looked awesome, and I had to sample Rachel’s amazing sweet potato fries. Neil’s fried green tomato BLT also looked amazing and I made a note to myself to order that one on another occasion.

 

The incredible looking homemade muffins (with flavors like maple/bacon, strawberry/lavender and peach/ginger), cake and pastries looked too lovely to ignore and we decided to share a cinnamon roll to finish off the meal with something sweet and special. The icing on top was a rich, cream cheese based gooey treat, and the bun itself was crisp, cinnamony and clearly fresh-baked. Just like the entrees, this was wonderful and left us wanting more- even though we were totally full.

Clearly, we’d have to return frequently to try all of the tempting plates they offered. Good thing they are close and super reasonably priced with almost everything under $10. We will absolutely and positively be back soon.

 

First Watch: 8306 Market St Bradenton, FL

Standard

Gabriel and I had breakfast here yesterday. It couldn’t possibly be more convenient as it’s less than a mile from where we live. We were seated in a comfortable booth right away and a VERY smiley and friendly waitress came to bring us menus and a delicious pot of hot coffee. We were a little surprised that the coffee, though it’s served in an unlimited-refills pot, is charged per person, not per pot. Next time we might opt to share one mug ūüôā

I ordered the ‘Caps Etc’ for my breakfast and asked for the english muffin to be served dry, and the roasted crimini mushrooms (HOLY YUM!) to be prepared with half the amount of cheese they’d normally use. I ordered my 2 eggs poached and a small fruit salad on the side to share with my honey bunny.

The food came out super fast and looking delicious. It was all exactly as I’d specified and everything tasted great. I even liked the little homefries which aren’t usually my favorite.

The prices were pretty reasonable- except for the per-person coffee price of around $2.50 each. My one cup didn’t really justify that…but Gabriel did end up getting a cup to go which I guess made up for it. My entree was around $8 and the little fruit salad an extra $3.50.

We’ll be back for sure!¬†

Brasserie Belge: 1990 Main St. Sarasota, FL

Standard

When we lived in¬†NYC, Gabriel and I used to use¬†Groupon-type¬†deals ALL the time. It was a way that we could go out to try new restaurants without spending a¬†fortune-¬†and the opportunities were endless as we got new offers at least daily from¬†Groupon, living social, yelp deals, buy with me,¬†KGB¬†deals etc. When we moved to Florida, it was one of the things I knew I’d¬†miss-¬†in fact, we even included it on our ‘will miss’ list on our blog: byebyeny.wordpress.com . The offers here are few and far between, and usually for activities and spa services as opposed to dining.

Imagine my excitement when, after our first month of living here, we finally received a¬†Groupon¬†offer for a restaurant we’d been wanting to try called¬†Brasserie¬†Belge¬†in downtown Sarasota. Most of the offers I see are up near Tampa or¬†St. Petersburg, so I was really happy to get a local one, for a great deal, just 20 minutes from where we live. I jumped on it and called for a reservation. My father, who had strongly recommended the¬†mussels¬†here, also gave us a great tip that if you sign up for emails on their website, you can print out a coupon for a free crepe dessert. Score!

We went for date night last Saturday and were seated right away outside, as requested. Our waiter came out right away to offer sparkling or flat water, tell us the specials and take our drink orders. I decided on a ‘Hot¬†and¬†Dirty Martini‘ which was¬†absolut¬†peppar¬†vodka, dry vermouth, olive juice and blue cheese stuffed olives and hot peppers (which were AMAZING) I loved my cocktail and could probably have really spoiled my dinner with a few more of those delicious olives. Fresh, soft bread and butter was brought to us soon after. It was¬†fine-¬†but nothing special and fairly unremarkable. This was actually a good thing since we had lots of food coming and I’ve definitely been known to fill up on bread before the meal arrives.

For our apps, we shared the¬†Salade¬†Brussels;¬†Iceberg lettuce, shredded parmesan cheese,¬†hard-boiled egg,¬†croutons,¬†Caesar dressing. I was fairly disappointed with it, but it was really my own fault for not noticed the ‘iceberg lettuce’ part. I was expecting a classic Caesar, but it was really boring. The dressing had almost no flavor, and the personality-less lettuce didn’t help things at all. The thinly shaved parmesan was plentiful, but couldn’t really support the rest of the salad. Even the¬†croutons¬†were sadly bland and I really would have really liked some anchovies or lemon to make it come alive. Oh well. Our other app totally made up for the first one. We ordered the special which was¬†sauteed¬†calamari and shrimp with olives in a creamy tomato sauce. It was outstanding.¬†The shrimp were¬†huge and cooked perfectly and the calamari was fresh and not at all chewy as it often is. The¬†kalamata¬†olives still had a nice bite to them and the sauce was creamy and warm and served as mature comfort food. Total winner.

For our¬†entrees, we shared the Mussels¬†Tomate¬†and the Meatballs “simmered in a sweet¬†li√®ge¬†sauce of reduced¬†fresh apples and pears”. It, like the¬†mussels, were served with¬†Belgian fries. The fries were served with a mayo-y sauce that was delicious and the twice-fried fries were¬†awesome-¬†super crunchy and just the right amount of salt. The meatballs were¬†amazing-¬†the sweet sauce they were served in reminded me a bit of Swedish¬†meatballs–¬†but were uniquely seasoned in way that was both sweet and savory. The¬†mussels¬†were fresh and cooked¬†perfectly-¬†and the portion was very generous. It’s understandable why most of the menu consists of different flavors of¬†mussels¬†and¬†meatballs-¬†they know what they do well and have made a great niche for themselves doing it.

For our complimentary crepe dessert, we were brought a thin, hot crepe topped with chocolate sauce and powdered sugar. It was tasty, but kind of boring. The chocolate that topped it was fantastic though- a dark, semisweet chocolate that was obviously of very high quality

Overall, I really enjoyed my meal. Our waiter was friendly, knowledgeable and very attentive. The prices were reasonable, made even more so by our¬†Groupon¬†and our free dessert. The atmosphere, including a talented pianist/vocalist, was lovely ¬†and sophisticated. We’ll definitely plan to go back!

 

Jameson’s South Trail Cafe: 7523 S. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, FL

Standard

I just started to work a few doors away from Jameson’s so I stopped in for lunch on my break. It’s a cute, very¬†casual atmosphere where everyone seems to know and like each other. I sat at a table in the corner and a menu was brought right over by a friendly woman with a big smile. Ahhh, what a nice, warm welcome.

I decided on a greek salad and it was brought out just a couple of minutes later with fresh ingredients, a side of very herby, homemade looking dressing and a fresh baked raisin brain (?) muffin. It was a perfect lunch- not too filling, refreshing and the right price at just under $10. The muffin, a flavor that I would not normally choose, was surprisingly tasty and worked to substitute for a sweet something that I would have liked for dessert if I wasn’t trying to be healthy.

The service was efficient, friendly and super fast. I will definitely be a frequent visitor! If you’re in the area, give it a try…the menu is full of great sounding omelettes, sandwiches, salads, hot lunches etc. with pretty much everything under $10

.

The Broken Egg: 6115 Exchange Way, Lakewood Ranch, FL

Standard

Today was Gabriel’s and my 2nd Saturday morning since moving to Lakewood Ranch and the first one that was free to go out for breakfast. We live a mile from the Broken Egg and had noticed the cute outdoor dining section when we drove past every day. We decided we’d try it today and got there around 9:30 to see plenty of open tables. We sat right away and our waitress brought over menus and took our orders for coffee with skim milk & honey (which they actually had- both seem to be fairly hard to get around here), and ice water. I noticed on yelp.com that there was a check-in deal for $5 off a $25 check. I showed it to the waitress who checked with her boss and confirmed that it would be honored. We actually doubted we’d spend enough to use it, but then we saw the prices…

Our waitress came back a few minutes later with our coffee, skim and honey, but no water so we asked again. The coffee, I’m sorry to say, left a lot to be desired. Although it was hot and topped off frequently by a team of staff, it was so weak and flavorless that it really needed the skim and honey even more than it normally would.

For my breakfast, I ordered the Ken’s Bella Veggie Skillet: 2 Eggs ‘your way’ (I had them poached), saut√©ed Portabella Mushrooms, Spinach, Sun-dried Tomatoes & Swiss Cheese over potatoes with a side of fruit salad and rye toast. I asked for my toast dry with butter on the side.

My meal came out lightening fast and looked great with lots of veggies and 2 perfectly poached eggs. I dug right in and was pleased with the combo of flavors and textures. The only thing that wasn’t great was the soggy/cheesy potatoes that the whole thing sat atop. I was hoping they’d have some crispy edges, but no, not even a little. The fruit salad was a nice refreshing side, full of fresh melons, berries and apples. Unfortunately, the waitress had forgotten my butter for my toast so I reminded her again. I’d finished about 3/4 of my meal before she finally came around again and I asked for a 3rd time. When she finally brought it out I was just about done eating my meal. Well, better late than never I guess.

Our check was brought over and our ‘pretty good’ food quickly turned into ‘totally not worth it’. Even WITH our $5 credit, the total plus tip came to $30. That’s just ridiculous. We are NOT in NYC anymore and charging more than double what a breakfast at a great NY diner would charge is insane. Yes, the setting is cute. Yes, the menu had great choices and the food was tasty…but NO, not worth $30 at all. I will not be going back.

;

;

;

Salute!: 23 N Lemon Ave, Sarasota, FL

Standard

My family and I went here for dinner tonight after our first attempt had an hour long wait and our 2nd attempt was closed. Salute has a great outdoor eating area with available tables and we were seated right away. Our waiter came over with menus and went over the specials. None of us wanted to order cocktails so we just asked for flat water. I also asked if, when he had a moment, he’d bring over some lemon for the water. When he came back to take our orders and to bring us bread and dipping olive oil, I again reminded him that I wanted some lemon. When he came back a third time to bring us our appetizers, I asked him for a third time for some lemon. Finally, he came back with 3 slices of lemon (for our table of 4. Hmmm) and my water glass was, by then, empty. Big fail. The bus boy overheard me complaining about the timing of this and re-filled my glass. Ok. Better late than never.

For my app, I shared an arugula, endive, radicchio salad with Gabriel. It came with a creamy balsamic dressing and shaved parmesan. Very nice and fresh, but kind of on the boring side.

For my entree, at the suggestion of our waiter, I ordered the chicken parmesan with penne. It was a great portion sized- very manageable and not overwhelmingly large which I appreciated. The chicken, however was totally overcooked, stringy, dry and unimpressive. The sauce and cheese on top were mediocre at best. I’ve had better chicken parm at a diner.

For the prices here, I would not return. Just a few nights earlier, we went to Cafe Baci for the same price and MUCH better food. I guess you’re really just paying for the lovely outdoor seating here and not much more.

Oh well, they can’t all be winners.